Talk:Iroquois Theatre fire
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"the influx of near-zero Chicago chilled winter air fueled a huge fireball"
I suppose that's near zero degrees Fahrenheit? It really needs to say, and provide a Celsius conversion if so, because 0° invites one to think of the temperature water freezes at if you're a metric thinker. Is the fact that the air was so cold relevant to the creation of the fireball? (I have no idea). —Felix the Cassowary 20:17, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
- Maybe it would be better to say ""the influx of frigid Chicago winter air fueled a huge fireball" and avoid a silly-looking conversion. Maybe leave out the "Chicago" too. --CliffC (talk) 20:54, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Rewriting and moving
I'm rewriting this (just started) to improve the narrative flow, to give an idea of what the Iroquois Theatre (note spelling!) was like before it burned, and to add more information from both the Brandt and Hatch books on the fire. One thing I've just noticed is that this article is called "Iroquois Theater Fire." The building was not called the Iroquois Theater at any time in its existence: it was called the Iroquois Theatre, r e not e r. (Buildings that hold live theatrical performances are generally called "theatres" in the United States, while movie houses are theaters.) I think it's simply factually inaccurate to have the article under "er" when the actual building was never called that, so I suggest that this article should be moved. Please vote below on this: we'll move or not once consensus exists. --NellieBly (talk) 05:03, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
- While editing this I've also found some discrepancies between what the references say and what is written here, especially with respect to the asbestos curtain. According to both references I have here, the curtain snagged on a reflector, not on the acrobat's line, and one of the references states that the curtain didn't go missing at all - in fact, it was tested and shown not to contain enough asbestos to be fireproof (the reference comes complete with quote from a chemist). Neither says anything about the curtain operator being sick or in hospital or even that there was a curtain operator - one reference implies that nobody was actually ever in charge of the curtain. Worse, the article stated that all exits opened inwards, and that this was common. In reality, some of the exits are shown in photos in these books to have opened outwards; the real problem was that the exits were badly marked (or not marked at all), badly located, inadequate in number, attached to flimsy fire escapes, difficult to reach, and often only accessible by illogical stairways that merged to cause bottlenecks. Some were blocked off by gates; others led to dead ends; some windows looked so much like exits that patrons rushed toward them only to be trapped when they couldn't be opened. In other words, the problem was much more complex than a simple "the exits opened inwards". --NellieBly (talk) 07:34, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
Name of article
Should the name of this article be Iroquois Theater Fire or Iroquois Theatre Fire? Presently, the article title uses Theater, but all references throughout the article are to the Theatre. Does anyone know which is the proper spelling? The title and the article contents should be consistent. Thanks. (18.104.22.168 (talk) 14:12, 30 December 2009 (UTC))
- "Theatre" is factually accurate, according to playbills printed at the time and the three books about the fire that I've read. Traditionally, in the US the spelling "theatre" is used for stages and "theater" for movie houses. I asked last month (look above) for comment on moving the page; since I haven't seen anyone complain I'm moving it now. --NellieBly (talk) 06:11, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Incomplete fire escapes?
I have read several accounts stating that the theatre's fire escapes were incomplete. However, a photograph of the alley behind the theatre clearly shows a complete fire escape extending all the way to the ground. From the accounts I've read, I think perhaps the problem was that the fire escape was poorly designed, with exits opening onto it at several levels. This made the escape unusable because of flames coming through doors lower down.
There was apparently a single firefighting standpipe on the stage, but it's unclear whether it had a hose connected. If it did, no one thought or knew how to use it.
The fireball also melted the fuses in the Theatre's lighting system, which left the interior in total darkness except for the light from the fire. One outcome was the requirement for lighted exit signs.RogerInPDX (talk) 17:05, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Treatment of the injured
I'm unsure if this should be part of the article, but news of the disaster spread across the city very quickly, causing doctors, nurses, and medical students to rush to the theatre. An emergency "field hospital" was set up next door in Thompson's Restaurant. Injuries were treated, and some unconscious victims revived, though many of them died later.RogerInPDX (talk) 17:13, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Surely the most modern theatre in the country would have had a telephone, and in fact probably several. What we don't know is where they were located, and whether theatre staff were allowed to use them, or had been told they could be used to call for help in an emergency.RogerInPDX (talk) 18:23, 15 October 2014 (UTC)